Biology Stories

Explore the world of biology and meet some of our biologists. Here you can learn about the living world and find out what is so cool about biology that someone would do it for a living. Pick a story to read or listen to one of our podcast shows filled with guest scientists who share their experiences and passion for discovery.

Yes, most of us know that plants and animals exchange carbon dioxide and oxygen gases, but how about the oceans - did you know that oceans breathe? Marine biologist Susanne Neuer talks about oceans, global warming, and life on not only Earth, but also the possibility of life on other worlds.

Whether you overeat or try to cut back, your body may be playing a strategic game based on the amount of energy you take in.

Let’s take a ride. It is going to be a fast one, so be prepared. Where are we going? We are going to start at your head and end up at your toes. It may not seem like a long trip, but it is going to be fast. It may be the shortest and fastest trip of your life. Are you ready? Let’s begin.
Also in: Español | Român

Hitting the road again, Dr. Biology checks out the Biological Division of the National Science Foundation. He visits with the Dr. James Collins the person overseeing all the research funding for the biological area at NSF. Learn how your tax dollars are being used and the cool things that NSF funds that you may not have known about.

Dr. Biology travels to the Tres Rios wetlands, a place where all types of living things can be found. He talks with local biologists about many of the species and also gets a chance to sit down and talk with Quentin Wheeler who is starting a new Institute that will be exploring and looking for species all around the world.

Are we robbing ourselves of our own natural treasures? A team of scientists is investigating how human-caused climate change is affecting U.S. National Parks.

When we think about using the natural power of the earth, like sun or wind, we don't usually think about how this might hurt animals. But researchers are finding that we can use sustainable energy while still taking care of our flying friends.

Trap-jaw ants come with spring-loaded jaws that can snap shut faster than any other animal's. But they may also use their jaws to catapult themselves through the air.

Whoever came up with the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” probably never met the Chinese Grouse (Tetrastes sewerzowi). For the Chinese Grouse, judging a mate by its cover is actually the way to go.

Families are important to many animals, but are they also important to organisms made of just one cell? For amoebas, the ability to recognize relatives can make a world of difference.

When you visit a pond or the beach, what kinds of living things do you see in the water? Depending on the environment, you might find fish, frogs, crabs, insects, seaweed, or lily pads. Don’t let your eyes fool you, though… there’s a hidden world in water full of creatures too small to be seen!
Also in: Nederlands | Français

Reading a scientific article can seem like a difficult task. To help get you started, we first discuss what all goes into a scientific article. Then, when you're ready, click on Article Dissection to see how a scientific article can be broken down into parts that are a bit easier to understand. 

Flowering plants, called angiosperms, are absolutely everywhere (even in Antarctica!). They are some of the most successful living things around. But what made them so successful?

Other than the rare chocolate covered ant, why would we want to farm ants? Dr. Biology and his co-host Itzany Mendez from Dunbar Elementary School look into lives of these interesting animals. The two talk with PhD graduate student Rebecca Clark and learn some pretty cool things including how to build a slick ant farm using two music CD cases.

As scientists study the amazing social network of ants they are discovering we could learn a lot from these tiny animals. Dr. Biology and co-host Jane Rector visit with Jennifer Fewell, a biologist who is exploring the world of social insects including ants. They learn a lot about this female dominated world and just what leafcutter ants are doing with all those leaves.

Wait - there's more! Dr. Biology and co-host Jane Rector continue their visit with Jennifer Fewell, a biologist who is exploring the world of social insects including ants. There is even some talk of how professional basketball teams could learn a thing or two from these six-legged insects. Not that we are saying there are tiny basketball games taking place inside ant colonies.

You think you know a lot about ants? Think again. These tiny animals have a lot of interesting things that they are teaching us. Have you ever thought that ants might be doing math? Learn what biologist Stephen Pratt is finding out about about one very tiny species of ants.

When it comes to fighting off bad germs, doctors have to use their best medicines. What do we do though, when our best weapons make our enemies stronger?
Also in: Español

There are so many types of ants that it's funny the animated movie about them centers on one type that doesn't exist: a male worker ant. In this story you can explore some of the types of ants you can find in the southwestern United States.

Plankton are ocean creatures so small we can't see them without a microscope, but just because they are small doesn't mean they don't play an important role in the ocean ecosystem.

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